Editorial IntroductionTom J. Nettles
Though churches may survive the disaster brought to them by an unqualified pastor, God has so ordered it that the health of his churches depends largely on the soundness of the pulpit ministry. Paul urged Timothy to follow closely his instructions on ministerial qualifications for the church is “the pillar and foundation of the truth” (1 Timothy 3:15). This issue of the Founders Journal investigates the question concerning the kind of man that God uses. We will allow the scriptural profile to emerge in the context of historical discussion.
It is providential that one of the articles planned for this summer issue comes from Ernie Reisinger. This is probably one of the last articles to come from his pen. That great champion of truth died on May 31, 2004. A later issue of the Founders Journal will explore his heritage and contribution, but till then one may grasp much of his heart and passion for truth, the glory of God, and the souls of sinners, by his discussion of the kind of man God uses in revival. Ernie, ever the purveyor of the best thoughts of others, developed his thoughts in the context of a piece by Horatius Bonar.
Bill Moore, A Southern Baptist pastor in Clinton, South Carolina, and recent PhD graduate of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, contributes an article in which he distills more than two centuries of Baptist witness to the nature of Christian pastoral ministry. The reader will be struck with the parallels between his historical discussion and Ernie Reisinger’s article. These parallels should help seal the importance of the key observations prominent in both articles.
Among these common key observations is an important component that urges the importance of the doctrines of grace. That leads to the circular letter on that subject by Samuel Pearce. To William Carey, Pearce served as his most important and zealous kindred spirit on the issue of missions until his untimely death in 1799. The circle of friends that established the Particular Baptist Missionary Society recognized Pearce as the furthest advanced in spiritual maturity among all the Christian ministers they knew.
May the Lord grant us many, both of preachers and laymen, who see the pastoral office as a good thing, and strive with all their might to have their lives be a testimony to that intrinsic and holy goodness.